Being arrested by the police can be a humiliating and angering experience for people in Tennessee. Some people may believe they have been arrested wrongly, especially if the charges are dropped or if they are acquitted in a court of law. However, proving false arrest is actually difficult. Furthermore, false arrest is not always committed by the police.
According to Findlaw, people that believe they were victims of false arrest often claim their Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure were violated, that evidence that supposedly incriminated them was gathered illegally. They may assert that the police needed a warrant to search their vehicle or home. However, if an officer has reasonable cause to search a person’s property, no Fourth Amendment violation has occurred. Police can also arrest a person without an arrest warrant if they witness someone committing a misdemeanor or a felony.
Additionally, if information used to make an arrest is later revealed to be in error, a police officer is not held liable if he or she believed the information was factual during the arrest. As the Legal Dictionary explains, a police officer has to knowingly detain a person without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any reasonable basis at all to believe the person has committed a crime in order for the false arrest to be an actual crime. However, even in cases where the police are not held liable for a false arrest, the ill effects of a false arrest, such as mental distress or public humiliation, can still form the basis of a lawsuit.
In many cases of false arrest, the perpetrators are not the police, but private security officials who believe they have the right to detain somebody even if they do not. Also, store owners who believe a crime has been committed on their property may attempt to detain somebody they suspect of being the perpetrator. Property owners may feel they are entitled to make a citizen’s arrest. However, in such cases true law enforcement officials must be contacted at the first chance to take over the situation. Moreover, if the suspect is not guilty of a crime, it could open up the property owner to a lawsuit.